Who else is excited for the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship? Didn't know it was coming up? Or that it existed at all? Don't worry, here's the rundown. Oh, and psst, it's August 28-September 12.
This year's tournament is in Turkey. The 24 participating nations are divided into groups of six, and play one game against each other teams in their group (five games in five days). The two teams in each group with the worst records are then eliminated, leaving the remaining 16 teams to fill out a single-elimination bracket.
We invented the sport, so we should expect to pretty much destroy everyone right? Well, not so much. We've won only three times since 1950. The first year that the US actually sent pro players was 2002, and while the team wasn't exactly a bunch of superstars, dropping out in the quarterfinals to Yugoslavia was a huge disappointment. The 2006 roster was similar to the Beijing Olympics "Redeem Team," including MEGA TEAM, aka Lebron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh. That team lost to Greece, 95-101, in the semifinals before beating Argentina in the third place game.
The 2010 roster is currently at 13 men, so one of these guys won't make the trip to Turkey. But here are the boys in the red, white, and blue:
Guards: Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook; Forwards: Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Lamar Odom, Kevin Love; Center: Tyson Chandler
I'm excited about Durant getting this chance to really break out as a superstar. The rest of the team is pretty oddly constructed. Rose, Rondo, Westbrook, Curry and Billups are the cream of the Point Guard crop in today's NBA, but do we really need all five of them? The roster is also pretty small, with just one Center and only two other guys at 6'-10" (Love and Odom). The USA is in Group B along with Brazil, Croatia, Iran, Slovenia, Tunisia. Our first game will be vs. Croatia (ESPN, 11pm ET). Get excited.